Metal Detecting Policy

The CONTEXT is thePipeLine’s new opinion feature.
To open the series we asked a leading finds specialist, who uses data from the Portable Antiquities Scheme regularly, their opinion regarding the proposed new metal detecting policy under debate by Portsmouth City Council and discussed in our news article HERE.

“Hopefully both sides, archaeologists and detectorists, can use this as a starting point”

“Whoever came up with this proposed policy [at Portsmouth City Council] deserves a huge amount of credit (and a big bunch of flowers); it’s brilliant. It places the value of the item back where it should be, not in how much an item sells for, but in what it can tell us all about our local and national histories.

These items are what outlast us all, and they deserve the upmost respect in terms of research – not to be treated as sources of monetary profit ignoring any other ethical considerations.

Surely those who truly wish to contribute to understanding and unearthing our heritage will also see this approach as a positive step in the right direction, as it helps ensure that these items are recorded for posterity – for everyone.

Hopefully both sides, archaeologists and detectorists, can use this as a starting point to draw a line under previous negative exchanges, which have sometimes descended to nothing more than mud-slinging, and agree that, with this kind of policy in the heart of any future discussions as to the relationship between archaeological investigation and metal detecting, heritage value always comes first.

Considering that what is being proposed in Portsmouth is only a small extension to what currently endorsed as constituting good practice and echoes also the agenda which the Institute of Detectorists is aspiring to, it would be difficult to understand why anyone could have any good reason to disagree with this policy move (apart perhaps from those with extreme positions who can be found on both sides).

It will also very quickly sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of those who truly care about their hobby of metal detecting and how they can effectively contribute to the bigger picture, compared to those who may have nefarious and/or selfish purposes.”

Views published in the CONTEXT are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of thePipeLine.

If you want to write an opinion article for the Context about any aspect of how archaeology is conducted today, or about the issues confronting archaeologists as they go about their work, please contact us at

To Top
%d bloggers like this: